The staff? The student committee?
Sometimes we can get into the trap of thinking gospel work is best left to the professionals. After all, they often have more training, experience, time and authority.
But the goal of the full-time bible teacher is the same as that of the Christian university student: to proclaim Jesus to present everyone mature in him.
In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about the gifts Jesus has given the church: “the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and the teachers.” And the purpose of these gifts, he says, is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood…”. So the purpose of the apostles, shepherds and teachers is not just to teach the gospel, but also equip all the saints (all Christians) for ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.
All Christians are called to be bodybuilders – not of their own bodies, but of the body of Christ. Paul goes on to write “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ”.
And the writer of Hebrews likewise urges Christians to “exhort one another every day” and to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together…but encouraging one another”. Every Christian is called to encourage their brothers and sisters in their faith. To minister to each other.
And not just to Christians. In 1 Corinthians 8-10, Paul unpacks how he tries to remove unnecessary obstacles to the gospel, in order to bring people to Jesus. He writes “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
So all Christians are to minister the gospel to their fellow Christians and those who don’t yet know Christ. As Colin Marshall and Tony Payne put it in their brilliant book The Trellis and the Vine, “The New Testament envisages that all Christians disciples will be prayerful speakers of God’s word, in a multitude of different ways and contexts.”
Those on our AFES staff team and our student committee may have different responsibilities, but we are all ministers of the gospel.
Here’s some ideas of what ministry might look like for us as students serving Jesus on campus. As important and valuable as our studies in Arts, Science, Engineering and Education are, these might just be one of the most important things you do in your years at UOW:
- Reading the bible one-to-one with a younger student each week.
- Having coffee with a friend who doesn’t yet know Jesus and sharing your faith.
- Reading ‘Uncover’ (Luke’s gospel) with a friend.
- Being part of a faculty group and encouraging others to grow in Christ and serve Christ.
All those who have been impacted by the gospel are to share the gospel – with each other, and with those who don’t know it yet. “Proclaiming Jesus at university” should be the goal for all of us who trust in Jesus.
Sam is a fourth-year English Literature, History and Journalism student. He also works part-time for a PR firm and enjoys acting, music, coffee and board games. He was recently elected President of ECU.
NOTE: This article was originally published for the weekly bulletin of UOW’s Evangelical Christian Union, The Page.